There's probably little left for Gevvie Stone to prove, especially at the Head of the Charles. Effectively her home course, where she rowed, raced, and won the Head of the Charles in high school, as a collegiate athlete at Princeton, and as a national team sculler and sculler-turned-sweeper in the series of 'Great Eight' lineups she helped organize, there's not a lot Stone hasn't achieved.
This weekend, Stone took to the Charles for what is essentially her final victory lap before she embarks on her medical career in earnest. She finished in style, winning both the Champ Single (for a record-tying 7th time, equaling Anne Marden's mark) and the Champ Eight. row2k caught up with Stone on Sunday after the racing.
row2k: A lot of people would have forgiven you for relaxing after doing such a nice job in Rio, but you turned around and rowed to a really convincing win today, in a really packed field. Is this HOCR your "victory lap," or the logical conclusion to the training you did this year?
Stone: With the fast field this year, it was particularly fun heading to the start line and knowing that I had to race a great race to win. Plus, it is always special to race on my home waters! And the crowd did an amazing job giving me an extra gear, especially at points where the headwind was rough.
I think the training through Rio definitely helped prepare me for today. More time in the single leads to more efficient rowing, and over three miles, it's good to be as efficient as possible! I have been training a bit this fall and have had a blast racing a bunch of the New England head races. That being said, I have gone lighter on the training (not full-time), and I've been enjoying coaching and applying to residency programs.
row2k: Tell me about the Great Eight.
Stone: We all respect each other so much. I'm in awe of the women I race against and I get to race with here, and I think that that is the most special thing about the boat, that we know what it takes.
row2k: Are you guys coming back next year in some way?
Stone: Oh, gosh yeah. There will be people coming back next year. Head of the Charles has been so supportive. I might not be racing in a boat, but I will help in the organization as much as possible.
Whoever races in the single for the U.S. will get to race in it. I didn't race it in 2013 when I wasn't the single. I think what's special about it is the group changes slightly, but the attitude stays the same. We're all just ready to go really hard and race well and fight for it.
row2k: You've experienced so many different emotions, competitive successes, both in high school and college and afterwards, and you cap it off with a tremendous Olympics. Were there times when you thought you might not go out on a high like this?
Stone: After the worlds in Amsterdam (2014, eds), I said, "I'm done. This sucks." Then we came back and raced the Great Eight at Head of the Charles that fall, and the regatta is what brought me back to life. I think being around the women and having fun racing was what made me excited to train all winter, and the winter training is really a huge part of the summer racing. That was a huge part of my coming back.
row2k: You won the single yesterday, you won the eight today, and now you're just going to leave it all behind.
Stone: When you put it like that...[Laughs] You never say never. I'm definitely applying to residency, and I am going to start it in June. I'm not going to the world championships this year, and we'll see how things go. I love rowing, and it's hard to say goodbye to something you love so much, and I'm sure that Kimmie [Crow] and Emma [Twigg] and Mirka [Knapkova] feel the same way.
We had a boat meeting before the eights race, and almost half the group was like, "Yep, last one!" I almost started crying. I love rowing and I love training and I love the community of it. I can't imagine leaving this behind.
So, never say never, but we'll take it as it comes.